SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With word spreading about a trade sending popular teammate Kent Bazemore and fellow reserve MarShon Brooks to the Los Angeles Lakers for point guard Steve Blake just before tipoff, the Golden State Warriors had every excuse to be out of rhythm in their first game following the All-Star break.
"It became a setup game," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "We could have held our heads down and got emotional before the game. But we understood that there's a job to do."
The Warriors came out strong and closed even stronger, holding off the Sacramento Kings 101-92 on Wednesday night in a game both teams played short-handed because of trades and injuries.
David Lee finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, Klay Thompson scored 18 points and Stephen Curry added 13 points and eight assists for a Warriors (32-22) team trying to make a strong playoff push.
They began the season's stretch run by parting ways with Brooks and Bazemore, best known by fans for his animated celebrations on the bench, but also a player beloved by coaches and teammates since coming to the organization last season.
"He's been here when we were just dreaming to be good," Jackson said.
Players were told of the trade about an hour before the game, and the teams announced the deal just before halftime. Veteran swingman Andre Iguodala, in his first season with the Warriors, called Bazemore's departure "probably the first one that I've been around that was kind of emotional."
"It almost happened so close to game time," Lee added, "that we didn't have time to process it."
With both centers out with injuries and a shorter roster from trades each team made earlier in the day, the depth of the Warriors was just too much for the Kings to overcome.
Isaiah Thomas had 26 points and seven assists, and Travis Outlaw scored 18 points for Sacramento (18-36), which is headed for an eighth straight losing season.
Quincy Acy grabbed a career-high 12 boards to help the Kings outrebound the Warriors 49-35, but Sacramento committed 21 turnovers and faded in the closing minutes.
"We seemed hell bent on giving them as many possessions as possible," said Kings coach Michael Malone, who spent the previous two seasons as Jackson's lead assistant.
The game was played in the aftermath of a busy day for both Northern California teams.
The Kings traded guard Marcus Thornton to Brooklyn for veterans Jason Terry and Reggie Evans in the morning. Then the Warriors pulled off the deal for Blake just before the game, adding a savvy veteran behind Curry.